Reduction in healthcare charges announced

Lower prescription charges on the way
  • Deborah Condon

A reduction in prescription charges is just one of a number of measures being introduced next month, with the aim of making healthcare more affordable, the Department of Health has said.

Funding has been agreed at Cabinet to provide for a 50c reduction in prescription charges and a €10 reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold.

Prescription charges apply to people with medical cards. Currently, the prescription charge is €2 per prescribed item, up to a maximum of €20 per month per person/family. This will reduce to €1.50 per person, up to a maximum of €15 per month.

For those over 70, the charge is €1.50 per item, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person/family. This will reduce to €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month.

Under the Drug Payment Scheme, a person or family currently pays a maximum of €124 per calendar month for prescribed drugs and certain appliances. This will be reduced to €114 per month.

The reductions in both of these scheme will affect around one million people.

Meanwhile, the department has also confirmed that medical card income limits for people over the age of 70 are set to be increased, which will impact around 56,000 people in this age group.

Current income limits are €500 per person or €900 for a couple. These will be increased to €550 per person or €1,050 per couple.

These measures are due to come into effect on November 1, the department added.

 


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